Obama attacks Trump for 'never' taking Covid and presidency seriously

31 October 2020, 23:25 | Updated: 1 November 2020, 09:06

Obama mocked Trump while he campaigned for Biden
Obama mocked Trump while he campaigned for Biden. Picture: AP

By Ewan Somerville

Barack Obama accused Donald Trump of failing to take the coronavirus pandemic and the presidency seriously as he campaigned alongside Joe Biden in Michigan on the final weekend of the 2020 campaign.

The Democrat 44th US president and Mr Biden, his former vice president who wants to be the 46th premier, held drive-in rallies in Flint and Detroit.

Mr Obama said he initially hoped “for the country’s sake” that Mr Trump “might take the job seriously,” adding: “He never has.”

The former president, addressing voters in dozens of cars in a Flint high school car park, seized on Mr Trump’s continued focus on the size of his campaign crowds.

“Did no one come to his birthday party when he was a kid? Was he traumatised?” Mr Obama mocked. “The country’s going through a pandemic. That’s not what you’re supposed to be worrying about.”

The memories of Mr Trump’s win in Michigan and the rest of the Upper Midwest are still searing in the minds of many Democrats during this closing stretch before Tuesday’s election.

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That leaves Mr Biden in the position of holding a consistent lead in the national polls and an advantage in most battlegrounds, including Michigan, yet still facing anxiety it could all slip away.

As of Saturday morning, nearly 90 million voters had already cast ballots nationwide, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Tens of millions more will vote by the time polls close on Tuesday night.

Mr Trump, meanwhile, made an aggressive play for pivotal Pennsylvania. The incumbent railed against a recent Supreme Court ruling that will allow the state to count mail ballots received as many as three days after polls close.

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He predicted “bedlam” and “many bad things” as the nation waited for a result.

Mr Biden’s campaign announced it was sending Mr Obama to Florida and Georgia on Monday.

“Joe Biden is my brother. I love Joe Biden, and he will be a great president,” Mr Obama said on Saturday.

Mr Trump is not ceding Michigan to Mr Biden. He visited Waterford Township, near Detroit, on Friday and held a rally in the state capital, Lansing, this past week.

But the surging coronavirus cases are clouding his presidency. The worst week of the year in terms of new infections arrived with election day looming. More than 99,000 Americans reported new infections on Friday, a record high, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Mr Trump told Pennsylvania voters that his administration has done “an incredible job” dealing with the pandemic. He promised that the mass distribution of a vaccine was “just weeks away”.